The trouble with peer review
In response to the challenge offered at the end of the article entitled, "Is Peer Review Broken?"
I found it absurd then, and I find it absurd now to discuss...
Defending animal research
Stuart Derbyshire's opinion piece
John U. Dennis
Animal Program Director
National Cancer Institute, NIH
Stuart Derbyshire presents ideas that people need to hear.
By the way, a license to do animal research in the United Kingdom was required before 1986. I worked in the Neurocommunications Research Unit at the University of Birmingham in 1971 and remember receiving a formal license to do animal research (it came nicely bound with a ribbon). I wanted to keep it, but was required to turn in back in when I left.
University of Toledo
Hear, hear! As a cancer researcher, I burn with anger every time I read some drivel about replacing animal models for in vivo testing.
Beverly E. Barton, PhD
University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey
Stuart Derbyshire's unsubstantiated claims that animal experiments are the "best hope to cure disease" and "advance the cause of human freedom" do not withstand scrutiny.
Derbyshire accepts that animals in laboratories are stressed. A recent review published in Contemporary Topics in Laboratory Animal Science shows this to be profound and unavoidable, even from routine procedures.
In his urgency to promote animal research, Derbyshire ignores its record of failure, its ongoing lack of translation to human medicine, and the increasing understanding of interspecies differences that is at the root of it. Introducing alternatives - validated, incidentally, against strict criteria to which the animal methods have never been measured - is a sine qua non of scientific progress.
Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
Stuart Derbyshire responds:
Dennis is in a muddle if he believes that animal welfare and animal research are compatible. There is a reason that we use animals for certain types of research rather than human beings. It is the appropriate concern for the welfare of human beings that prevents us from giving human beings untested drugs, deliberately infecting them with incurable diseases and using them as test subjects for experimental surgeries. I have no sympathy with animal rights, but I will agree that if the aim is to protect the welfare of animals, animal research must stop.
Bailey has another reason for opposing animal research: He doesn't think it works. I welcome the debate, but I would argue that animal research has value regardless of whether medical breakthroughs are achieved. Several examples of such medical breakthroughs demonstrate, however, that it does work: Primates have been used to develop vaccines against rubella, anti-rejection drugs such as cyclosporin, cornea transplantation and the design of the heart-lung transplant. Dogs were used to develop kidney transplantation and open-heart surgery. Control of diphtheria came from guinea pigs and horses. From sheep came control of anthrax, and from cows the eradication of smallpox. The list goes on.
Re: "PETA Asks Journal to Retract Paper."
William E. Lee
Research Defense Society
How to improve the h-index
Re: the h-index.
However, such an index should be sensitive to the level of the highly cited papers. As the h-index is defined now, once an article belongs to the h-defining class, it is totally unimportant whether or not these papers continue to be cited and, if cited, it is unimportant whether these papers receive 10, 100, or 1,000 more citations.
To indicate the overall quality of a scientist or of a journal, an index should include the performance of the top articles and hence their number of citations should be counted, even when they are declared to be in the top class. I propose the g-index, defined as the highest number, g, of papers that together received g